DAN: Goodbye, Brett
By Dan O'Donnell
You might not have noticed, but we've been pretty emotional since you announced your retirement. In fact, I was even forwarded this email from KARE-TV:
"Is it a statewide day of mourning in Wisconsin today? One of our reporters just came back from River Falls and told me they shot interviews with two different grown men who cried on camera."
You definitely had that affect on us, Brett, and not necessarily because of what you could do on the field. Sure, the touchdown passes and Super Bowls were nice, but they alone won't drive grown men to tears.
Your tears did, though. We cry now over your retirement because you were man enough to cry after what you thought would be your last game at Lambeau two years ago. Our anguish now is so strong because your anguish was so real in that Monday Nighter a day after your dad died.
We cry, Brett, because we really could feel your pain. Your glory too, but it was your struggles that made you human.
Who among us hasn't known someone who has struggled with alcoholism or drug addiction? Who hasn't loved someone diagnosed with cancer or lost someone far too soon?
Brett, you did things on the football field that none of us could, but lived a life off of it that all of us might; with all the pain and suffering that go with it. Your fame and fortune didn't make you immortal, your struggle to overcome everyday problems made you human.
In essence, you were us out on that field--just a regular guy with regular problems doing the extraordinary. Just like we would if we had your talent and drive.
That's why we cry Brett, because you were (and still are) far more than a football player to us. Your time here in Wisconsin, struggles and glories and all, turned you into our old friend. Football players, even the best ones, are in time forgotten but old friends, even ones who move down to Mississippi always hold a special place in our hearts.
So goodbye, Brett. Thanks for everything you did for the Packers, but even more for what you did for us.